Nod from California: Joe Biden now has enough electors to officially become US president
US President-elect Joe Biden has secured enough electoral college votes to officially win the presidency after California certified its election outcome on Friday, handing him 55 pledged votes.
Biden now has nine more than the 270-mark that he needed to technically secure a win over his opponent, President Donald Trump, in the election. Colorado, New Jersey and Hawaii, which Biden won, still haven’t certified their results, and when they do, Biden’s tally of electoral college votes will go up to 306, which he has been projected to win for weeks now.
Trump lost the election, garnering 232 electoral college votes. But he has refused to accept his defeat, alleging, without any proof, election fraud.
The Trump campaign and his allies have filed multiple lawsuits challenging the outcome in the six states that cost him the election - Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia Arizona and Nevada - and his campaign announced one more lawsuit on Friday.
The outgoing US president is scheduled to address a rally in Georgia in support of Republican senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler whose fate in the January run-off would determine who controls the Senate. Their loss would hand over the Republican-controlled chamber to the Democrats.
California’s certification of Biden’s win wouldn’t have received so much attention. But Trump’s refusal to accept defeat has turned every formality in the election process into a milestone.
It’s still a significant milestone, as Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University, told AP. “It is a legal milestone and the first milestone that has that status,” Foley said. “Everything prior to that was premised on what we call projections.”
The remaining states have until December 8 to certify their results. And on December 14, electors of the electoral college will vote to declare the victor - in this case, Biden. They will convey the outcome to US congress, which will approve it on January 6, two weeks to the inauguration on January 20.
Trump has tried to persuade Republican-controlled legislature in these states to declare their own list of electors. But has had no success yet. He is also trying to get state legislators to petition Congress to reject the electoral college result.
Dozens of Republican state legislators wrote to the state’s congressional delegation on Friday, seeking rejection of the electoral college vote. “We, the undersigned members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, urge you to object and vote to sustain such objection to the electoral college votes received from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” they wrote.
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- That stance was echoed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who told Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi on Saturday that the contested islands were covered by the US-Japan Security Treaty.
- The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.